I came across the post on #18shadesofblack today on Sumitra Selvaraj’s @sareesandstories page on Instagram today. It is a campaign initiated by @sharmila006 , a Social Entrepreneur and a Fashion Artist to address as well as talk about restrictions being imposed on women, specifically in response to the social uproar when the Supreme Court of India lifted the ban on women of menstruating age from entering the Sabarimala temple.
Enabling women to live life their own way is perhaps the greatest restriction of all time.
A couple of days ago, I came across the term “self-partnering”, which is now trending after Emma Watson glorified her singlehood by coining the term “self-partnership” to her current relationship status. I’m not sure if the women’s liberation movement and feminism in general have been focusing on solving the root causes behind the need to have such movements in the first place.
Take the scenario of working women today, who fight for equal pay, longer maternity leaves and flexi work hours. All these demands go back to their ultimate concern: childcare. During the old days, the men used to be the breadwinners and the women played the role of homemakers. Then, as the living standard increased, women were expected to help share the financial load and this became a necessity for some women who were both victims of domestic violence and financially oppression.
We saw women joining the workforce to address the issues they were facing. Of all these “solutions”, we hardly see where and how men are involved as a part of the solution. We only see women largely adjusting their lifestyles to meet the demands of their family. And today, we paint a picture that relationships are fragile, not worthy, and that men are not dependable. Women are glorifying the status of being single because it is liberating, and it depicts how strong women can be.
If only women are allowed to just be who they are, all these unnecessary restrains wouldn’t have surfaced. If we stopped measuring the worth of women from their skin colour or how well they cook, we could have slowed down the aggravation behind radical feminism. And today, we are subconsciously nurturing financially independent “strong” women because that is the next yardstick that would measure the worth of women. This also indirectly tells that men are not to be dependent on, and if women shed tears or are weak, they are losing the game.
It is so sad to see that we are undervaluing relationships, portraying the wrong image of human and family values to the generations to come. If only we teach men how to rectify issues coming from them and if only women are not restricted and judged for who they are, cared and loved for by men, the second wave feminism and the power struggle in modern relationships could be a lot easier to handle with.